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Hiking is one of the best leisure activities in Phoenix, Arizona. There are many trails within the city itself, ranging from gentle strolls to challenging ascents, and they all offer breathtaking glimpses of the beautiful desert. Here are five popular hikes for visitors or residents to try in the Valley of the Sun.

The main attraction here is the Summit Trail, which is approximately 1.2 miles in length and has some steep, challenging sections. Friendly hikers will greet you as they pass by on their way up and down, and there are a few benches along the way where you can stop to rest or enjoy the view. You are almost guaranteed to see both beginners struggling to make it to the top for the first time and longtime Phoenix hikers running — eyes, running — up and down the rocky trail. Twice. In less time than it might take you to do it once on your first try. (Don’t feel bad

—they were novices once, too. Just don’t forget to drink lots of water.)

At the southern end of the city you will find the logically named South Mountain. This is actually a long set of hills with multiple hiking trails and plenty of park space, and it offers additional opportunities such as picnic spots and horseback riding. A popular South Mountain route is the climb to the Dobbins Lookout, a viewpoint that can also be reached by car. You might think of this as cheating, after you have ascended on foot!

Everything has its opposite, including the mountains of Phoenix, so you are correct to conclude that there is also a North Mountain. This is another popular hill, and once again you are bound to see the fit hikers and runners out there going up and down several times in one session. This is especially true for the most popular North Mountain path because it is paved (it doubles as a road used only by occasional official vehicles). There are several linked trails at North Mountain, but the popular asphalt trail is a kind of rite of hiking passage in Phoenix, and it is a short hike, so the climb is easy to do twice in one visit. Despite the hike’s short length, you will still be rewarded with postcard-like views of downtown Phoenix as well as the often overlooked north and west expanses of the Valley of the Sun.

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